Friday, September 28, 2012

Robb Wolf's Slow-Cooked Rosemary Veggies and Meat

Tuesday after work, I was walking to my car and I started thinking about what I would have for dinner and how nice it would be to come home to a hot meal completely prepared for me.  Then I remembered, that I did in fact have a hot meal completely prepared waiting for me at home.  I had a beef arm roast from my meat share to cook and I had placed it in the slow cooker that morning.

I searched the internet for recipes using this cut of meat, but came up empty.  I was looking through Robb Wolf's The Paleo Solution and there it was, Slow-Cooked Rosemary Veggies and Meat.  Here's a recipe I've overlooked because there was no glossy picture.  Shame on me.  I did not see where he has published this recipe online but some artful internet searching may or may not reveal the exact recipe.  Buy his book, you won't regret it!

Before leaving for work, I gathered my ingredients.

I basically used this as an opportunity to use what I had lying around in my refrigerator.  His recipe says you can use frozen veggies.  I use frozen vegetables from time to time, but find I don't like their texture once cooked in a slow cooker.  So I decided to use carrots, celery, mushrooms, and garlic.  How much you use will be dictated by the size of your slow cooker and your piece of meat.  

I used about a pound of carrots.  I really like roasted/stewed carrots.  I peeled them and cut them into fairly large pieces.  Do you have a good sharp vegetable peeler?  I used to hate peeling carrots growing up.  When I started cooking as an adult, I realized that I didn't really hate peeling carrots, I hated my mother's rusty, dull vegetable peeler.  Do I love this task now?  No, but the task isn't a complete chore because I have the right tool for the job.  

I only used one stalk of celery.  I've found that I don't like the texture of large chunks of celery in my slow cooker dishes, but I do like the flavor. So, I cut my stalk into small pieces.  The smaller you cut your vegetables, the more they will disintegrate after being cooked for hours in the slow cooker.  

I sliced up my onions and mushrooms and added them to the slow cooker.

And finally, I smashed 4 cloves of garlic and threw them into the pot.  

Put your meat, whichever cut you decide to use, on top of the bed of vegetables. 
What a pretty cut of grass fed beef!

Robb, as the name of the recipe implies, calls for rosemary.  I have an aversion to lots of rosemary in my food as it tastes like soap to me, so I used about a tablespoon of Italian seasoning instead.  I also added some salt and pepper.

And then a cup of homemade beef broth.

I put the lid on, set the slow cooker timer for 9 hours on low, and left for work.  The recipe says 8 hours or as much time as you need.  This is the beauty of the slow cooker.

When I got home in the evening, this is what was waiting for me.

Here is my plate.

Accessibility and Cost of Ingredients:  This roast was from my grass fed beef share, so it cost me $7.00/pound.  The arm roast is a pretty lean cut as its from the upper front portion of a cows leg.  The slow and low cooking in a slow cooker allows you to use pretty lean tough and inexpensive cuts of meat and turn them into juicy tender feasts.  Here's a link I found giving suggestions for cuts of meat that are well suited for a slow cooker.

Preparation and Cooking Time:  I set my stopwatch on my preparation time and came in at just over 17 minutes.  This includes a hand washing after handling the raw meat.  My meat was in the slow cooker for about 10 hours because that's when I got home from work.

Clean Up: The clean up before and after cooking was super easy.  Since I used my cheap knife, everything went into the dishwasher.  I did do a little pre-scrubbing on my slow cooker crock before putting it in the dishwasher to make sure it came out clean.

The Paleo Review:  Thumbs Up!  When I took this meat out of the slow cooker, it fell apart.  The meat was flavorful, juicy and tender.  My vegetables were soft but not mushy and had taken on the flavors of the meat and Italian seasoning.  I cannot say how nice it is to come home and have this just sitting there ready for me.  Robb Wolf really has the solution to most anything!

I posted a picture of my plate on Facebook and some friends commented that they wished they had time to make a meal like this for their family.  I hope you see that you can.  It takes longer than 15 minutes to get take out and really that's all you need to cook this dish.  You can cut this preparation time even more by using a bag of frozen vegetables, using baby carrots that you don't  have to peel or cut and/or using pre-sliced mushrooms.

If you have limited time before you need to leave your house in the morning you can prepare everything the night before, refrigerate and just throw everything in the pot in the morning.  If your slow cooker has a removable crock, I'd say you could assemble everything the night before in your crock, cover and refrigerate it and just put the crock into the cooker in the morning, but I don't know if that might cause your crock to crack.  Does anyone have any experience with doing that?

You can also put this in to cook over night.  I personally don't like to run the slow cooker at night as the aromas that fill the house wake me up.  Do whatever works for you.

Get your slow cookers out and try this simple yet delicious meal!